BE A.W.A.R.E : Pharmacists Uncover Important Patient Information to Make Patients Healthier

For Immediate Release                                                                                   
Monday, March 5, 2012
BE A.W.A.R.E : Pharmacists Uncover Important Patient Information to Make Patients Healthier


Dartmouth, NS - As Pharmacy Awareness starts its second day, pharmacists across Nova Scotia are encouraging patients to BE A.W.A.R.E and get a Basic Medication Review. The review may uncover important information that can impact your health and wellness.

In a 20-25 minute session with her patients, pharmacist Michele Wyman says she has uncovered some very important information. This review goes beyond just reviewing prescribed medications. The pharmacist also looks at any over the counter medications, vitamins or other health supplements a patient may be taking.  It gives a pharmacist the chance to really get to know his or her patient.

"We have discovered that many patients are smokers and the single most important medical intervention you can do is to initiate a smoking cessation plan with these patients.  Often times we as pharmacists aren’t even aware the patient is a smoker. " says Ms. Wyman. "Medication reviews are a great opportunity to engage in these types of conversations."

During a time when patients seek medical attention from multiple sources, Basic Medication Reviews become vital. Some patients have many doctors involved in their care (such as family doctors, specialists, out-patient doctors, etc.).  A Basic Medication Review gives patients a comprehensive list of all of their medications that they can bring to their doctors and help all members of a patient's medical team have the most up-date -information.

"Patients sometimes bring in medications we don’t even know they are on (physician samples, prescriptions filled at another pharmacy, over the counter herbal remedies)," says Ms. Wyman. "Regular medication reviews make sure we always have a complete picture."

Sometimes a pharmacist can offer an easy solution to what has been a serious problem for a patient.

"We have uncovered patients who can’t open a regular child proof vial.  Those patients can very easily be switched over to “snap caps” or easy open bottles," said Ms. Wyman.

"We have uncovered patients who don’t understand why they are on a particular medication," says Ms. Wyman. "It is a great opportunity to educate patients so they can empower themselves to know and understand more about their medications and medical conditions."

The theme for Pharmacy Awareness Week 2012 is "BE A.W.A.R.E." It is based on an  acronym developed by pharmacist Karen Fraser, who works at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre in Amherst. "I think people everywhere should be reminded of how important it is to be their own best advocate for their medication regime," said Ms. Fraser. Each letter represents important advice that patients should follow.

A - Ask your pharmacist about your medications.

W - Work with your pharmacist to keep your medication records current.

A - Always keep this list updated if something changes in your regimen.

R - Report to your pharmacist when doses are changed in hospital.

E - Educate yourself on what you are taking and why.

As part of Pharmacy Awareness Week, participating pharmacies are offering an opportunity to win a Basic Medication Review. For more information on participating pharmacies and the contest, please visit


For more information, please contact:

Amy Wagg
Director of Communications
Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia
Phone: (902) 422-9583, ext 4